How to look after your diabetes at work

Have you been diagnosed with diabetes? Whether you’ve just discovered you have the condition, or you’ve known for a long time, you’ll know that there are certain steps you must take to manage your condition.

Depending on the type you have, there’s a chance that you will need to balance out your blood sugar levels by topping up on insulin through the day. This can involve some forward planning – and it can involve some extra forethought if you’re trying to take insulin while you’re at work.

If you’re trying to look after your health during the workday, read on. Here, we’ve rounded up some tips to make you feel more comfortable about taking care of yourself in the workplace.

The prevalence of diabetes

Trying to navigate any health condition at work can be tricky. And if you have diabetes that you’re trying to manage, you’re not alone.

It’s predicted that one in 10 adults in the UK could have diabetes by 2030, and back in 2019, there were an estimated 4.8 million people across the country living with the condition. So, you’ll be one of many people who are trying to look after your health with doing your day job. There are steps you can take to ease the pressure of this juggle, however.

Tell someone – if you can

If you do feel that you can tell your employer that you have diabetes or that you can let HR know, they’re likely to be able to help you take care of your insulin intake by accommodating your needs. As well as helping you to manage your condition at work, it makes them aware should you be at risk of having a hypo.

However, you don’t have to tell your employer that you have diabetes. It doesn’t matter why you don’t want to tell them. It could be that you don’t think you’ll get the support you need, or you simply don’t feel comfortable sharing your personal information.

In this case, you might want to get a fit note from your GP. This note could cover recommendations about your role and where you work from. It should also include a line about your condition lasting more than 12 months as this will class your diabetes as a disability according to the Equality Act 2010, protecting you.

Wear the correct uniform

This tip might not apply to your role, however there are some hands-on jobs that require a uniform or personal protective equipment. In certain circumstances, there’s additional considerations to make about what you wear as a diabetic. Diabetic support socks, for instance, might be necessary. Take the time to plan your workwear so that you’re taking the best care of your body.

Take regular breaks

As part of your workday, make sure you’re taking regular breaks. Breaks are important for anyone, but especially for those with diabetes. During these moments, have a healthy snack that will top up your blood sugar levels and keep everything balanced.

Monitor blood sugar levels

On the subject of keeping everything balanced, take the time to check your blood sugar levels during the day. It can be easy to get swept up in projects and meetings at work, but it’s important that you set aside time to check your levels are stable.

Pop some reminders and alarms on your phone so that you can step away from our workload for a moment to monitor your levels.

Go to your check-ups

Whether you tell your boss about your condition or not, you’ll need to book out time to go to your check-ups as part of your annual review. Let your manager know that you’ll be attending medical examinations and double check how the company you work for manages regular medical appointments and long-term illnesses and conditions. This understanding of how it works will help you to feel secure and comfortable when you come to take time off for your check-ups.

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